Animal activists have scored an unusually swift victory in an online campaign to stop the Zhejiang Jinhua Dog Meat Festival 《浙江金华狗肉节》from happening on October 18.
This was to have been the eighth such festival and if allowed to take place, approximately ten thousand dogs would have ended up on the dinner table over a period of three days. People who have been to the festival in the past say it is a gruesome sight — dogs are kept in cages, and then butchered out on the streets when a customer comes along. The pitiful sounds of dogs yelping fills the air throughout the duration of the festival.
Campaigners have slammed the event as an unnecessary “massacre” of dogs, and argued that the dogs have not been through any health checks by regulatory bodies. They say many of the dogs were illegally culled, and some of them would still be seen wearing their identification tags just before the slaughtering.
The general public was urged to repost information from the campaigners through their blogs and microblogs, as well as to call up the press to voice their displeasure.
On Sina Weibo alone, the campaign tweet was reposted a whopping 55,000 times in less than a day. Within hours, news of the decision by the authorities in Jinhua to cancel the festival was announced by the local paper, Jinhua Daily.
Dog eating in Jinhua and the region around it goes all the way back to the Ming Dynasty. Legend has it that one general who was planning to invade Jinhua was constantly getting his troops barked away by dogs in the city. It wasn’t until they killed all the dogs that the army managed to conquer the city. To celebrate the success, they feasted over dog meat for days
Dog meat is also a popular delicacy in South Korea. Activists in Seoul scored a similar victory in June this year with the cancellation of a dog meat festival organised by the Korea Dog Farmers’ Association, which represents some 600 dog farms all across South Korea.